“Yeah Dad, it was bad enough when you tried to pass yourself off as Tom Bosley, but Krusty?” – Lisa Simpson
“You weren’t complaining when I got you this close to Chachi.” – Homer Simpson
“What’s a ‘chachi’?” – Bart Simpson
In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22. Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom. Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “showbiz”, which both Mad Jon and I managed to screw up).
As Mad Jon points out below, one of the more flashing neon indicators that the people behind Zombie Simpsons are truly committed to phoning in their show came at the resolution of Marge’s two scene B-plot. The Cat Lady, who got started as a throwaway joke back in Season 9 and probably should’ve stayed there, comes in and takes over the Simpson house. Dismissing the development, Homer says “We’ll deal with that later”. Of course they don’t even so much as mention it later, which makes this a novel kind of double apathy.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we begin?
Mad Jon: Sure
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s been more than a week since I watched this thing, and it’s been much longer than that since I read A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but other than the very end did anything in here have anything to do with the title of the episode?
Dave: Near as I could tell, no.
That they attempted to do anything with the title at all is a little surprising.
Mad Jon: The way they crammed it in at the end was not surprising, however.
Charlie Sweatpants: That was par for the course.
Shall we tackle the hackneyed showbiz plot first or the hackneyed hoarders plot first?
Mad Jon: Let’s do the showbiz plot first.
It actually works as a pretty decent flow chart on this legal pad I keep next to me to look important.
Cheech + Chong = Homer + Skinner
Cheech + Homer = Chong + Skinner
And then Skinner and Homer mystically stop being part of their respective acts (Jon’s postulate of convenience)
And Cheech + Chong = Happy ending
Also in addition to there being two ‘k’ sounds in cocktail, there is also a ‘cock’
Charlie Sweatpants: I see. Fascinating.
You have captured the basic outline, though Homer being the star of the show his half of the "Cheech + Homer = Chong + Skinner" was considerably bigger.
Mad Jon: Yes, but they were equally as off putting
Charlie Sweatpants: Then again, I don’t know how much more of Chong and Skinner I could’ve taken.
Dave: I was just about to raise that point. Who actually wanted more of Chong + Skinner, even though both were atrocious?
Mad Jon: I couldn’t stop thinking about the dance quartet in The Big Lebowski.
Charlie Sweatpants: To be fair, except for the part about expectations, Chong got in the most descriptive line of the episode when he talked about the "Sea of what? With waves of hunh?"
Mad Jon: I was much happier when Cheech’s van WAS made out of pot. MUCH happier.
Charlie Sweatpants: And I think it was a "quintet", you know, his "cycle" in Lebowski.
Agreed on the van, though.
Mad Jon: Ah, yes. Where is my head this evening.
Charlie Sweatpants: More to your point, reheating thirty-five year old jokes and assuming they’re going to work because Homer’s acting crazy wasn’t a good idea.
Mad Jon: I don’t see how this show’s target audience could possibly understand what was going on. When is the last time you saw any of those bits?
I remember being ten and getting the humor in The Simpsons.
Now I am considerably older, and considerably bored. And I’ve seen the Cheech and Chong movies.
Charlie Sweatpants: That’s because they didn’t used to just repeat old things. They joked about "Dave’s not here" way back in Season 4, they just didn’t build an episode around it.
Mad Jon: True true.
Then someone wins ‘most improved odor’
Dave: The rest is history.
Charlie Sweatpants: The first time I saw Burns mock Ed Sullivan for having The Beatles and their "off key caterwauling" on his show I didn’t know who Ed Sullivan was, but I didn’t need to. Here if you aren’t fairly familiar with Cheech and Chong, the van bit you mentioned being a good example, you don’t have much to go on.
Mad Jon: Good analogy.
Charlie Sweatpants: And then there’s the resolution, how exactly did Homer get Chong back?
I may have just blacked out for a minute or something, but it seemed like Homer never talked to Chong until they were backstage for their surprise reunion.
Mad Jon: I don’t know. It fits in real well with what Homer says after they let Cat Lady take their house "We’ll deal with that later."
Charlie Sweatpants: Except they didn’t even deal with it later.
Mad Jon: No. No they didn’t.
I may also have blacked out for a minute, but, I know Lisa called Homer, but then Homer didn’t answer, but then after sniffing Cheech’s butt, he is in the not pot van driving back to save Marge.
But, but… but but.
Dave: You’re right about the re-emergence of the pot van and the Marge saving. It just sort of happened.
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s part of their special brand of laziness, where they already know how its going to end, so they just figure no one will give a shit if they skip a few steps to get there.
Mad Jon: You saying we’re not workin’?
Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.
Much the same goes for the Cat Lady subplot. It only has two scenes, Marge cleaning/starting to hoard, then Marge not hoarding and the Cat Lady going crazy again.
After school specials are less predictable.
Mad Jon: Was Moe using a VHS tape?
Charlie Sweatpants: I think so. The better question is why they felt the need to insert that whole thing? Did NBC headquarters get that big of a laugh?
Mad Jon: NBC?
Charlie Sweatpants: He mails the tape to NBC headquarters in the Cayman Islands. It’s not that funny, but it was made even less so by the creepy, drawn out setup.
Dave: I must have checked out. I don’t remember Moe at all.
Mad Jon: Ok. I gotcha now.
Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, don’t worry about it.
Mad Jon: It’s better this way.
Dave: Probably better for it, I suppose.
Mad Jon: The point still being Marge was a hoarder, then she wasn’t, and now the Simpson family no longer lives at 742 Evergreen Terrace.
And we didn’t even get a star wipe transition.
Charlie Sweatpants: Transitions were this episode’s strong suit. I cite the opening exposition, Homer getting up on stage, that audition, and Chong’s mysterious re-appearance at the end.
Mad Jon: Indeed.
Does anyone remember that Zombie episode where the Simpsons were on a reality TV Show?
Charlie Sweatpants: Mercifully no.
Mad Jon: That was a while ago. I think they were living in a house circa 1600 or something.
Charlie Sweatpants: Their "topical" episodes are typically even less memorable than whatever their non-"topical" episodes are called.
Mad Jon: Then there was a flood or something, and it got them out of their contract.
Charlie Sweatpants: Sounds terrible.
Mad Jon: It was. It really, really was.
Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else of note in this one? Between Homer’s montage, Cheech’s overly sincere art tour, and all the rest there just wasn’t that much actually happening.
Dave: I just wanted to add that South Park’s take on hoarding was way, way funnier.
Mad Jon: Well, mercifully, I would categorize this more as boring than bad. Because there have been some textbook bad Zombie episodes, but this just felt like the I&S daydream Bart had when he wasn’t allowed to go see the movie.
Charlie Sweatpants: Good call. Then again, much of Zombie Simpsons does kinda feel like a shrug of defeat.
Mad Jon: Maybe we are just getting used to the disappointment. Now I know how my Mom feels.